American White Pelican, © 2015 S. D. Stewart

American White Pelican at White Rock Lake, Dallas, TX

American White Pelicans, © 2015 S. D. Stewart

Trio of American White Pelicans at White Rock Lake, Dallas, TX

Yellow-rumped Warbler, Dallas, TX, © 2015 S. D. Stewart

Yellow-rumped Warbler, Dallas, TX

Great Blue Heron, © 2015 S. D. Stewart

Great Blue Heron at Rogers Wildlife Rehabilitation Center, Hutchins, TX

Great Blue Heron, © 2015 S. D. Stewart

Great Blue Heron at Rogers Wildlife Rehabilitation Center, Hutchins, TX

Indian Peacock, © 2015 S. D. Stewart

An Indian Peacock dozes in the sun at Rogers Wildlife Rehabilitation Center, Hutchins, TX

American White Pelican at Rogers Wildlife Rehabilitation Center, Hutchins, TX, © 2015 S. D. Stewart

American White Pelican at Rogers Wildlife Rehabilitation Center, Hutchins, TX

Prickly Pear Cactus (Opuntia), © 2015 S. D. Stewart

Prickly Pear Cactus (Opuntia) at Cedar Ridge Preserve, Dallas, TX

Cedar Ridge Preserve, Dallas, TX, © 2015 S. D. Stewart

Along the Bluebonnet Trail at Cedar Ridge Preserve, Dallas, TX

White-winged Dove, Dallas, TX, © 2015 S. D. Stewart

White-winged Dove, Dallas, TX

somewhere else






American White Pelicans
(with Am. Coot in background)

Bonus Photo (note: closer to home than above)


To the Lighthouse (V.W.)

Somewhere Else (SE) constitutes a removal of oneself from fixed behavior chains, thought patterns, and/or emotional states. SE does not necessitate a change in physical place, although such a change can certainly strike flame to tinder.

(Photos taken with crappy cell phone camera. Pelican photo taken through binocular lens.)


I walked on the homophone path today. Here are two of my favorites.

© 2012 S. D. Stewart, Homophone path

© 2012 S. D. Stewart, Homophone path

I saw a man with a large Dallas Cowboys tattoo on the side of his calf. As we neared Dick’s Last Resort, his companion spotted the statue of Dick and exclaimed, “Oh, look!” and steered her man over to be publicly humiliated while consuming his afternoon repast.

Later I heard a young woman say, “She’s going to a Match.com event there tonight.”

When I returned to the lobby, a man saw me coming and did not hold the elevator. He did not look at me, for he was ashamed at what he was about to do, but I know he saw me. I then held my elevator for the next person. Sometimes I see people pushing the ‘close door’ button as I approach the door. Sometimes I stick my foot in between the closing doors in defiance. Every day is a skirmish in the war of life.

There are blobs in the office today. I just heard them capering in the hallway. One blob came into my boss’s office while we were having a meeting. This blob knows there is normally a candy dish on the table, and so she looked for it but it wasn’t there today and so she turned around and walked out. Her expression did not change from one of intense detached focus the entire time. Nor did she speak. Good blob.

texas trip

Unfortunately, Em El and I were sick with colds during part of our time in Texas, she for longer than me. They were not debilitating colds, but they were an inconvenience (and still are, as we continue to slog along through their end times). We still soaked up plenty of family time, and I even picked up three (!) new life birds, all within the Dallas city limits. Important lesson: never underestimate the value of urban birding! At White Rock Lake, I found an American White Pelican snoozing on a log and a flock of Franklin’s Gulls gathering overhead. These birds were just passing through during migration. The next day I observed a couple of Harris’s Sparrows feeding on seed outside the fantastic Trinity River Audubon Center. This bird is a winter resident in north Texas. None of these birds are easy to find in Maryland, as they are nonresidents and only rarely vagrant in the northeast U.S. during migration.

Other than occasional birding and lots of chilling with the family, Texas involved a lot of eating. Of course we had to sample the best of what the Dallas area has in the way of vegan fare! These included the always delicious Spiral Diner; the newly spruced-up under new ownership 100% vegan Asian buffet, Veggie Garden; a new one for me, Kalachandjis (Dallas’ longest serving vegetarian restaurant, which begs the question of why they never brought me here before!); and a new one for everyone, D’Vegan (specializing in vegan Vietnamese cuisine- soooo good). We also ate plenty of Mexican food naturally, including vegan migas from a new place in Dallas.

Here are a few photos. I took less than I thought. I blame the sickness. Or maybe I was just trying to live these moments, not document them.

The first few are from Trinity River Audubon Center. The wildflowers are Texas Paintbrush (Castilleja indivisa).

© 2012 S. D. Stewart, Trinity River Audubon Center, Dallas, TX

© 2012 S. D. Stewart, Texas Paintbrush, Trinity River Audubon Center, Dallas, TX

© 2012 S. D. Stewart, Trinity River Audubon Center, Dallas, TX

Sign on the wall at Veggie Garden Restaurant in Richardson, TX:

© 2012 S. D. Stewart, Sign at Veggie Garden Restaurant, Richardson, TX

Maneki Neko (“Beckoning Cat”) statue at D’Vegan Restaurant in Dallas, TX:

© 2012 S. D. Stewart, Maneki Neko, D'Vegan Restaurant, Dallas, TX


I’m back from The Great State of Texas, inspiration for much fine cinema and home of many fine musicians, such as this fellow (one of whose college friends I ate lunch across from last Saturday [see, Texas is not always as big as it seems]) and this other guy (note: not a native Texan). I have photos to share but it will take me some time to organize a photo post. In the meantime, the new issue of Vine Leaves has appeared, with my vignette “Silver Jean” printed within its digital pages. Travel photos to follow soon!

Scissor-tailed Flycatcher

A couple of weeks ago, a sighting at Eastern Neck NWR over on the Eastern Shore caused a bit of a stir on the MDOsprey birding discussion list. The bird was a Scissor-tailed Flycatcher, a rarity in much of the United States, with the exception of a very few states where it breeds in the summer. People were driving over to Eastern Neck from all over the state to see this bird, and frantic messages kept appearing on the list asking for updates on when the bird was last seen. Not being one to drop everything and drive many miles for a rare bird sighting, I enjoyed the excitement vicariously through the list and didn’t think much more about it after the uproar finally settled down. Fast forward to this past Saturday when I was down in rural north Texas at Em Ell’s mom’s family reunion. I’m sitting there chowing down on some vegan “chicken” salad under a tent in the 90+ degree heat, when I look out over the grass and see a Scissor-tailed Flycatcher doing a rendition of its “sky dance”!!! As soon as is politely possible, I sneak over for some closer looks. Unfortunately I did not have my bins so had to make do with the naked eye. There was a pair of them perched on the barbed wire fence, taking turns shooting up into the breeze to scarf down some bugs. I suspect they were a male and female, based on the sky dance routine, but can’t say for sure. One of the photos shows what looks to me to be a male on the fence (based on the longer tail, as compared with photos of females). I took some lame photos with my not-made-for-photographing-birds camera. If you click on them and enlarge, you can see the birds a little better. I hadn’t checked the bird’s range when I saw the posts on MDOsprey, but as it turns out, this flycatcher is a yard bird in Texas, as well as in Oklahoma to the north, where it is the state bird. The bird also breeds in a few other bordering states. To me, this is one of the coolest things about birding. In one state a bird can be a total rarity, and yet fairly common in another state. This makes even casual birding while traveling often an exciting time!


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